October 26, 2018
For Noir City Hollywood’s 20th anniversary, the team—Eddie Muller, Alan K. Rode, and Gwen Deglise—thought it appropriate to program all LA-set films as a nod to where Noir City started. Out of the 20 screenings, I was able to attend 11. As with festival #19, I’m splitting up my recap into the good and the bizarre. First up: the good—and only 6 months late!
September 26, 2018
I’ve done some crazy things for classic movies, but taking an early morning flight back home hours after a wedding probably tops my list. And while a Paramount B-picture usually wouldn’t be worth the effort, the entire event I was racing to on the final day of Cinecon 54 certainly was. Seconds after I realized Marsha Hunt’s film debut, the rarely screened The Virginia Judge (1935), was programed Monday afternoon at Cinecon—at a time I could possibly swing—I started researching ways I could make the screening.
September 21, 2018
Welcome to my Friday recap from Cinecon 54! Though Friday was the first full day of the festival, I only attended the evening screenings, as I had a nine hour workday to get through first. That meant I unfortunately missed out on the 1933 bonkers sounding sci-fi/comedy/??? pre-Code It’s Great to Be Alive and the discussion with Eva Marie Saint, BUT I was thrilled to catch Colleen Moore’s 1920 silent comedy So Long, Letty. So, it all balanced out.
September 17, 2018
Cinecon 54 was a whirlwind for me! Despite a jam-packed weekend, I fit in six features and five shorts across three days of the festival. I was fortunate to catch several rare, must-see pictures, while also discovering a few new gems, which is what Cinecon is all about to me.
First day’s first: Thursday!
August 16, 2018
Labor Day weekend is around the corner, and you know what that means: CINECON!
Basically, Cinecon is like a newly released Netflix show—this event is meant to binge, from 9am till midnight, with built in meal breaks and a few minutes respite in between movies for four and a half days.
July 12, 2018
Welcome to part 2 of my series highlighting TCMFF 2018 guests who shared stories from the past that invoked many concerns society is dealing with today. Last month I covered Q&As with Claude Jarman Jr. (Intruder in the Dust) and Nancy Kwan (The World of Suzie Wong), who discussed topics of racism and diversity.
June 21, 2018
More so than previous festivals, the past – ugliness and all – came roaring back at TCMFF 2018, particularly during introductions and Q&As. As the festival marched on, I noticed a subject popping up in numerous discussions: the present and, specifically, how many of the issues we are currently dealing with have been battled in the past both on and off camera.
May 11, 2018
For the third time, I had the opportunity to cover the red carpet at TCMFF. This year’s opening night festivities including a screening of The Producers (1968), complete with an appearance by Mel Brooks, and the awarding of the inaugural Robert Osborne Award to Martin Scorsese for “his longtime dedication to preserving and protecting motion picture history.”
May 6, 2018
Get ready for this, because it may blow your mind: On the final day of TCMFF, I only watched one - yes, one - movie in full.
Luckily, I wasn’t married to any of the 9am selections, because 1. That meant I got to sleep in, which was very much appreciated, and 2. I was able to attend a special event at Larry Edmunds Bookstore, “A Morning with Marsha.”
May 4, 2018
Saturday started off with a nice mile long walk, which may sound incredibly lengthy to those who live in LA, but really, it's not.
From one of my free parking spots on Sunset, I hoofed it to the Arclight's Cinerama Dome for a special presentation of Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich, the first - and last - picture made in the Cinemiracle process.
May 2, 2018
This year, I told myself to take it easy at TCMFF... well that went out the window on Friday morning.
After prying myself out of bed, I hustled over to the Chinese Multiplex for Intruder in the Dust (1949), introduced by Donald Bogle and Claude Jarman Jr, an incredibly skilled child actor who co-starred in the picture.
April 30, 2018
How can four days fly by in the blink of an eye? The 9th annual TCM Classic Film Festival wrapped yesterday (technically, it ended around 1am this morning at In-N-Out for me) and in a way, it feels like it was all a dream. An incredibly long, blissful reverie, at that. In my opinion, TCMFF is adopting cues from San Diego Comic Con: Though officially the program kicks off Thursday, press events begin the day before and many unofficial TCM fan groups organize meet-ups in the days leading up to opening night.
April 23, 2018
I’m 96% sure the majority of TCM Classic Film Festival attendees travel from out of town for the occasion. Factoring in airfare, accommodations, passes, transportation, and food, the four day mecca can be costly. While I admittedly don't have to worry about many of these expenses, I do live in LA year-round, which is not cheap. That said, my pal Danny's recent tips and tricks article inspired me to share some of my own pointers as a local TCMFF attendee.
*an economical local.
April 11, 2018
The full schedule for the 9th annual TCM Classic Film Festival was unleashed upon the world one week ago, and as usual, it was immediately embraced, scrutinized, and agonized over with fervor from fans across the globe. Below is my tentative game plan. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed/fretted/pulled my hair out compiling it.
April 2, 2018
2018 is a milestone year for Noir City Hollywood, with the festival celebrating its 20th edition in Los Angeles. To commemorate two decades in the City of Angels, Noir City 20’s theme is – surprise! – the city itself. Having grown up in northern New Jersey where my first urban interaction was the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, I've never come to think of Los Angeles as a city, but rather a series of interconnected suburbs, save for downtown.
February 26, 2018
“This story has been sitting in Van Nuys for 90 years,” Jason Wise, director of Wait for Your Laugh, declared of his subject, Rose Marie, at a Q&A at the Egyptian Theater on November 18, 2017. I for one am certainly glad that the almost century-long story was captured on film (actual film – both 35mm and 16mm) and even more so that Marie was able to witness its release and appreciate all the lovely praise the movie received before she passed away on December 28, 2017.
February 1, 2018
Welcome to part 3 of my recap from UCLA Film and Television Archive's series Recuerdos de un cine en español: Latin American Cinema in Los Angeles, 1930-1960. In my first review, I explored two daring 1934 titles, La mujer del puerto (Mexico) and Nada más que una mujer (US), and last week, I covered two suspenseful Mexican productions, La otra (1946) and El vampiro (1957). To conclude my series recap, I'm going to shift focus to a trio of lighter entries, all produced in the US: ¡Asegure a su mujer! (1935), No dejes la puerta abierta (1933), and Castillos en el aire (1938).
January 24, 2018
Welcome to part 2 of my recap from UCLA Film and Television Archive's series Recuerdos de un cine en español: Latin American Cinema in Los Angeles, 1930-1960. Last week, in addition to marveling at the fact that downtown Los Angeles was the center of a booming Spanish-language cinema culture from the 1930s-1950s, I explored two daring titles from the series, both from 1934: La mujer del puerto (Mexico) and Nada más que una mujer (US). This week I continue the dark streak with two suspenseful Mexican productions, La otra (1946) and El vampiro (1957).
January 16, 2018
From September 23-December 10, 2017, the UCLA Film and Television Archive presented the series Recuerdos de un cine en español: Latin American Cinema in Los Angeles, 1930-1960 as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. The event boasted an eclectic mix of entries varying in both genre and country of origin.
I only caught about one quarter of almost 40 titles that screened during the series. First up in my recap: two of the darker entries I saw, La mujer del puerto and Nada más que una mujer, both from 1934.
December 18, 2017
For a while, I've wanted to interview silent film accompanist/composer Cliff Retallick. Since I still haven't gotten around to actually inquiring about an interview, I was pleased when the Voyager Institute, "a lecture series that educates, invigorates, and exhilarates," announced that Retallick would participate in a silent film composition Q&A this past September.
November 22, 2017
Welcome to part 2 of my UCLA Festival of Preservation 2017 review! Last week, I covered the good. This week, I'll tackle the ugly, which ranges from strange to disappointing to WTF and beyond. Regrettably, this edition failed to uncover a gem as outlandish as 2015 entry Ouanga (1933/35/36/41?), but I will say, some of these movies come close to rivaling Ouanga's ludicrous tale.
Before we begin, catch up with part 1 of my recap. Then brace yourselves for something sort of different...
November 13, 2017
Well, another successful UCLA Festival of Preservation wrapped... over seven months ago. (Better late than never, right?) Of the movies I saw, I'd call roughly one quarter of them gems and another quarter thoroughly entertaining. The rest? Some were so screwy that I found it hard to suppress my unintentional laughter, while others were simply, well, lackluster. So this year I decided to break my recap down into the good, the bad and the ugly/oddly compelling messes. Yup, just two. First up: the good!
October 17, 2017
Marsha Hunt holds a very special place in my heart. Through the lovely interview I’ve conducted with her, the Q&As I’ve intently listened to, and the few brief chats I’ve shared with her, I feel like I've gotten to appreciate and know her better than any other actor from Hollywood’s Golden Era.
September 14, 2017
Well, more accurately shook things up, because the noir-tastic fest wrapped its 19th year at the Egyptian Theater in LA over five months ago, at the beginning of April. (What can I say? I've been busy!) This article's tardiness aside, the slate for #19 indeed appeared different, as A-B titles from the same year were scheduled every evening for 10 consecutive nights, starting with 1942 and running through 1953 with a few years absent in between.
August 15, 2017
Cinecon returns to the Egyptian Theater for round 53 on August 31! Worlds apart from TCMFF, Cinecon delights by presenting mostly obscure, forgotten features and shorts; some titles are so rare I have little doubt their programming will satisfy the most hardcore film fan. I noted on Twitter that I hadn't heard of 3/4 of the pictures scheduled for this year, but upon closer inspection, that number lowers to about 7/8; out of 40 movies on this year's slate, not counting programs that don't list the individual shorts or clips, I'd only heard of 5, and of those, I've only seen 2.
July 18, 2017
I am very pleased to announce that I've signed on as a new pre-Code Hollywood columnist over at Classic Movie Hub! If you're not familiar with the site, check it out. CMH is basically a one-stop shop for all things classic Hollywood - articles on movies and stars, trivia, giveaways, upcoming events, interviews and more - you name it, they've probably got it.
And what better way to set sail on my new endeavor than with a piece on The Sin Ship (1931)? Click HERE to read my debut article!
June 27, 2017
Welcome to my final piece (I promise) on TCMFF 2017's Special Presentations! If you'd like to catch up on my previous musings, here they are: This is Cinerama, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and Republic Preserved.
Glancing over the program I received when I walked into The Great Nickelodeon Show, I could tell this would be an event unlike any other I'd attended at TCMFF.
June 13, 2017
I know I reported that my final piece on TCMFF 2017's Special Presentations would cover both Republic Preserved and The Great Nickelodeon Show, but I'm splitting the last two up for easier reading purposes, aka a sane word count.
The archiving/preservation admirer in me found TCMFF's Republic Preserved presentation, consisting of a clip reel and Q&A, thoroughly compelling.
May 30, 2017
As I’ve mentioned previously, I didn’t stay for the screening of It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) at TCMFF, but I couldn’t resist a Ben Burtt and Craig Barron production. With a total of three Oscars in between the team for sound effects editing (Burtt: 2) and visual effects (Barron: 1), I assumed the discussion would center around the technology behind Cinerama, but I was wrong. With their signature banter and lighthearted zest, the duo gave those of us who made it out of bed for a 9am start time a whirlwind introduction to the “Unsung Heroes” of IAMMMMW.
May 18, 2017
TCMFF special presentations, programs I generally consider unique to TCMFF, normally rank as my top priorities at the fest, and this year was no different. From Ben Burtt and Craig Barron's discussion before It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) and The Great Nickelodeon Show to This is Cinerama (1952) and Republic Preserved, these shows definitely landed among my festival highlights. I'll be splitting my coverage up into three separate pieces, the first one focusing on This is Cinerama.
May 8, 2017
The fabulous folks at Flicker Alley are at it again. And by 'it,' I mean creating and distributing a gorgeous box compilation, Early Women Filmmakers: An International Anthology, full of rare and many unjustly forgotten works by some of cinema's earliest female pioneers across the globe.
I'm excited to announce that I'm one of several bloggers participating in a giveaway of this brand new set. Want to win a free copy? Read on!
April 28, 2017
There was a new - well, old - kid in town at TCMFF this year: nitrate. TCM programmed one nitrate selection at the Egyptian Theater each evening of the festival, two in black and white and two in color: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), Laura (1944), Black Narcissus (1947) and Lady in the Dark (1944). Of the four titles, I caught all but Laura - not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
April 19, 2017
For the second year in a row, I had the privilege of interviewing stars and special guests on the TCMFF red carpet. If you read my coverage from 2016, you may know that I was a bit under-prepared and overwhelmed on my first TCMFF red carpet last year. However, I took that opportunity to observe and learn from everyone around me so that the next time I'd have a shot at it I'd be 110% geared up and ready to go.
April 14, 2017
Day 4: Sunday 4/9
As Cock of the Air (1932) is rather rare, my original plan for the final day of TCMFF was to attempt another viewing. But the more I thought about it, the more I really didn't want to get up at 7am to battle crowds at 8 for a 9 o'clock start.
April 13, 2017
Day 3: Saturday 4/8
This is Cinerama (1952)
Cinerama: 2, Kim: 0.5. Another morning, another trip to the Cinerama Dome. Whereas the Dome was built for It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963), This is Cinerama was also a landmark: it was the first Cinerama film produced. So I couldn't miss it - well, I actually could miss part of it, and I did.
April 12, 2017
Welcome to my recap of the first full day of TCMFF 2017 programming! To read my rundown of day 1, please click here.
Day 2: Friday 4/7
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)
Fest surprise #1 of the day. In my TCMFF 2017 preview, my first choice for this slot was Beyond the Mouse, and my second preference was Rafter Romance (1933). Well, I threw both of those ideas out the window and instead trekked over to the Cinerama Dome for It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, the movie the Cinerama Dome was literally built for.
April 11, 2017
Now that the buzz has (barely) simmered down and the parade has packed up and left town, it's time to take a look back at the classic film bonanza that was the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival.
Though fest programming officially begins on Thursday, the last few years my TCMFF-related activities have kicked off a day or two prior; this time, it was Wednesday night.
April 10, 2017
Another TCM Classic Film Festival has come and gone! At the closing night party, the most common question asked was: "What were your favorite screenings and festival highlights?" I haven't had the time to reflect on the experience as a whole, but a few revelations popped up as I navigated the fest. So before I dive into my more comprehensive recap, below are some more immediate takeaways and surprises from TCMFF 2017.
March 30, 2017
As expected, the TCMFF schedule release on March 20th sent me into a flutter. Upon discovering a flurry of tweets, I hopped on the TCMFF site and commenced with my schedule scrutiny. I posted my fest preview last week, but as I've had the chance to settle in with the full agenda, here's my broader reflection on the program as a whole.
March 22, 2017
Every year, thousands congregate in Hollywood to celebrate the classics over four non-stop, filled-to-the-brim days of movies, Q&As and special events at TCMFF. This isn't the first rodeo for many fest-goers; we know the entire program is usually unleashed 2.5-3 weeks before opening night, and this past Monday TCM published the full festival schedule online. Despite the expectation, I'm 98% sure the announcement flung many classic film aficionados' daily agendas into disarray!
March 10, 2017
I am very proud to announce that for the first time I See A Dark Theater will be covering the TCM Classic Film Festival as a member of the media! As I noted two years ago in a post discussing my experience at each TCMFF, I've had the good fortune to live in LA since the festival's debut in 2010. Every year, I've attended in one capacity or another - volunteering for two years, battling the standby lines for a few more and working as a Social Producer in 2015 and 2016.
March 7, 2017
It's almost time for Noir City Hollywood 19! This year, the dark and devious extravaganza is sandwiched between UCLA Film and Television Archive's Festival of Preservation (they actually overlap two evenings) and the TCM Classic Film Festival.
After reviewing the Noir City Hollywood 19 schedule, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to see pretty much everything programmed this year, which is rather astounding for me, because I am quite picky with what I watch.
February 23, 2017
At a UCLA Film and Television Archive nitrate screening of Road House (1948) this past January, I noticed the Archive's programming guides in the lobby only read January-February 2017, when they usually cover three calendar months. Programmer Paul Malcolm explained the oversight wasn't actually one at all: a special occasion in March, the Festival of Preservation, would warrant a guide devoted entirely to that celebration. As one of my favorite events in the city, I can't imagine how I could have forgotten that it was time for the Festival of Preservation again!
February 13, 2017
I can always count on TCM to throw some rare gem(s) almost no one knows about into their TCMFF schedule: at the 2014 festival, it was On Approval (1944); in 2015, Why Be Good? (1929) and in 2016, One Potato, Two Potato (1964).
As I noted in one of my wrap-up posts, a fire alarm interrupted the final few minutes of One Potato, Two Potato. Though the emotional impact of the uninterrupted picture would have arguably packed a stronger punch, the gut-wrenching ending nonetheless hit hard.
January 20, 2017
I live within walking distance of the Cinefamily, but for some reason I don’t browse their calendar as often as I peruse other venues'. Their eclectic programming in general skews more peculiar than my selective tastes, but their special tributes and series draw me in multiple times a year.
Last week, the Cinefamily screened Jean Renoir's La Grande Illusion (1937), followed by a Q&A with actor/director/film historian Peter Bogdanovich and author Pascal Mérigeau, whose 2012 French work Jean Renoir: A Biography has just been translated into English.
December 22, 2016
This article was originally written for the American Cinematheque. They graciously let me re-print it here, in edited form.
The below is a throwback post from April 2013, when Debbie Reynolds spoke in between screenings of Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) at the Egyptian Theater.
November 23, 2016
From January-March 2016, the UCLA Film and Television Archive hosted "Out of the Ether: Radio Mysteries and Thrillers on Screen." Classic thrillers are a rather beloved genre of mine, but the radio mysteries part - that really intrigued me. As explained on UCLA's site: "Lesser known is the movement of radio programs to film," a statement I certainly agree with.
October 28, 2016
Welcome to I See A Dark Theater's Halloween favorites, part 2! Herein you will find three more season-friendly picks that are not intense, gory horror flicks but rather slightly creepy, totally bizarre and oftentimes psychologically manipulative films. For the most part, they are just as alarming as your run-of-the-mill suspense tale, albeit in different ways.
October 21, 2016
It's October, which appears to have morphed into everyone's favorite month seemingly because 1. fall, 2. pumpkin everything and 3. Halloween and scares galore.
By and large, I am not a fan of horror. Modern shock films that contain as much gore as war movies do not interest me. Some of the effects and frights in thrillers rocket me completely out of my seat. Put simply, I don't like to be scared. But I like films that make me think, or even ones that creep me out (only slightly though).
October 4, 2016
Over one year ago the first issue of The Pre-Code Companion was released. I was honored to have had an opportunity to contribute to that inaugural publication, as well as Issue #4. Now, I'm excited to announce that I'm back at it again! Issue #6 was released a little over a month ago, but since I've been traveling the past few weeks, I'm just now getting around to writing about it.
Issue #6 covers three films, two actresses, and one actor from the Forbidden Hollywood Collection: Volume Four DVD set. Pick up your copy today on Amazon.com for $2.99.